What is the Biblical Reason for Community Groups?
Community Groups are the primary vehicle for discipleship at Calvary Chapel.
We gather in community groups to live life together, love Jesus together and experience the gospel in ways that we can’t on our own. Community Groups are a place to wrestle with the truths of the Bible, love one another, serve the surrounding suburb(s), and participate in the mission of God for Calvary Chapel.
We are a people living lives together as disciples of Jesus who are on a mission to call others to become disciples. So before we address what a community group is, let us take a moment to discuss what it means to be a disciple.
A disciple is a follower of Christ who reflects the image of God by finding their identity in Jesus and expressing that identity through worship to God, community to the body of Christ, and mission to the world.
This Description of the disciple’s life is not simply a destination, but rather it’s a process of growth and sanctification we are striving for, individually, as a church, and in our community groups. There are five significant concepts that we need to address as foundational to our life as a disciple and our lives together in community: Imago Dei, Identity, Worship, Community and Mission.
Image of God (Imago Dei)
We are image bearers of God created in His image to proclaim His glory to the rest of creation. This means that we have intrinsic value as His image bearers and that we were created for a purpose, to bring glory to our Creator (Gen 1:27-29, Eph 2:8-10). It is from the image of God, and reconciling work of Jesus on the cross (Rom 5:10), that we express our identity as disciples of Christ through worship to God, community to the body of Christ, and mission to the world.
Our identity is in Christ. This means that we define ourselves in the same way that God does: by what Jesus has done on the cross (2 Cor. 5:18). We are not defined by what we have done, do, or the things that we have (2 Peter 2:9-12). Jesus has atoned for our sin (Rom. 3:25), clothed us in righteousness (Isa. 61:10), and adopted us as sons and daughters (Rom 8:23). This is our identity. As a community this means that Jesus is our King and Saviour. He is our highest affinity, the Bible is our highest authority, and the Trinity is our example for how we live together.
We are worshippers. We are created as instruments of worship intended to bring glory to Jesus (1 Cor. 6:20) (Rev 4:11). Therefore our greatest joy comes from when we do what we were created for – and that is worshiping Jesus. We worship through song, gratitude, prayer and the way we live our lives. As a community this means that we worship together and encourage one another to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:9). Our life together should be a proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a corporate act of worship.
We are the body of Christ created in the image of God who exists in community (Gen. 1:26,27). The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have eternally existed in relationship with one another as one God in three persons (John 1). God is a relational being who created us as relational beings so that we could image Him (Gen. 1:26). As a community this means that we are to reflect the glory of God and preach the gospel through our lives together. This means: loving one another, forgiving one another as Christ forgave us, calling one another to confession and repentance for the purpose of reconciliation and calling one another to lives that glorify God (Heb 10:24-26, 2 Cor. 5:18).
We are missionaries created in the image of a sent and sending God. God sent His son Jesus into human history to reconcile himself to us (John 1:14). God is in the business of gathering more worshipers to Himself. As his disciples, our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus so that more image bearers (humans) would come to a saving faith and give glory to God (1 Peter 2:12). As a community, we are called to live lives together that reflect God’s glory, showing the world around us the saving, transforming love and power of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, we are called to live our lives intentionally and missionally – loving one another, and engaging with and loving our neighbours (those we live next to, work with, and come in contact with). We do this because we are commanded to (Matt 28:19, Luke 10:27, Jer. 29:5 ) and so that hopefully, our neighbours will see the glory of God being lived out in our lives, stirring their hearts so that they will answer God’s call for their own salvation (2 Peter 3:9)
It is on this foundation that we have built our Community Groups. We are called to be disciples and to make disciples. As you participate in, or lead groups at Calvary Chapel Secret Harbour, you should endeavour to align yourself and your community in these principles.